When most people hear the name Alcatraz, the first thing they think of is the escape-proof penitentiary that housed America's toughest criminals. But the small island known as "The Rock" has a long and fascinating history. Since its discovery in 1775, Alcatraz has also served as a fortress to protect the western United States from invasion, a Civil War-era military prison, and a symbol of defiance for American Indians in the 1960s. Today, it has become a national park. With this book, young readers will go back to the island's humble beginnings and follow its transformations through the years. They'll meet the legendary Birdman and other notorious prisoners, learn about some famous "great escapes," and more.